VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is celebrating Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square, where tens of thousands of faithful are patiently enduring tight security to be near him.
Police are checking the handbags and backpacks of tourists, pilgrims, Romans and journalists who are streaming toward the square for the pontiff’s traditional noontime blessing and speech on world affairs.
For years, Islamist extremists in social media have listed as potential targets the Vatican and Rome, which hosts the headquarters of the Roman Catholic church.
Francis last week in two public appearances denounced those carrying out “terrorist acts” while profaning God’s name.
The pope appeared solemn Sunday as he sprinkled incense around the altar set up on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica.